Volunteers are now serving
more than 300 every week

ALMONT — Food for the bellies of local residents serves as food for the souls for members of Almont’s Vineyard Church, where
long lines have been forming for its weekly food giveaways.

Located at 3835 Van Dyke (M-53), the church’s food pantry is open each Thursday from 3-5 p.m.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 virus, the pantry has been operating solely on a drive-thru basis.

Pictured in the foreground are Vineyard Church members Jerry Miller, Bertha Deitch and Lois Woodcox, along with fellow volunteers handing out food items to families in need on Thursday.


Jerry Miller, Vineyard Church spokesperson, said the need for basic food supplies has increased at least two-fold since the onset of the virus.

Miller said the church’s weekly food pantry has been open for the past 9-10 years, but the existing need is eclipsing that of previous economic downturns.

“With so many people having lost their jobs and unemployed, the number of people coming to the pantry has doubled.

“Fortunately, we have a loyal group of volunteers and donors who continue to help out with the pantry,” he said. “Right now, we’re feeding an average of 325 people each week, so the need is there.”

Miller said Vineyard volunteers travel to Flint each week to purchase discounted food items from the Eastern Michigan Food Bank.

It is those items and others donated by church members and the community, that are distributed to those in need at the pantry.

“We’re here to help everyone,” said Miller. “We don’t discriminate and we don’t care where you’re from.

“If we can help people in any way, shape or form, we’re going to do it,” Miller said. “We do this because we love to do it.”

Lois Woodcox and Bertha Deitch, food pantry coordinators, said toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectants are now included among the most sought-after items; along with staples such as cereals, bread, canned foods and other non-perishables.

Pantry fundraiser

To ensure that the food pantry is able to continue meeting the needs of local residents, the church is currently hosting a collection drive to benefit the pantry, specifically.

“Our goal is to raise $5,000,” said Miller. “If we can do that, we think we can serve the community’s needs through the remainder of the year.”

He said that as of Friday (April 24), more than $2,200 had been donated to the food bank fund.

Vineyard Church Pastor Brad Standfest said donations of nonperishable goods and monetary donations to benefit the food bank are welcome at any time.

He said items and checks can be dropped off at the church on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. – noon; and from 2-4 p.m.

Though regular worship services have been canceled during the pandemic, Pastor Standfest said the church is currently broadcasting live (virtual) services on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.

For more information about the food pantry fundraiser or the virtual services, visit Almont Vineyard Church’s Facebook page or call the church office at 810-673-3040 or email Pastor Standfest at bstandfest@almontvineyardchurch.org.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.